Kei Nishikori survives five match points against Gael Monfils in Miami - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori survives five match points against Gael Monfils in Miami

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Kei Nishikori some how found a way through to the semi finals of the Miami Open after defeating Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 7-6. The Japanese came through a tremendous 2 hour 32 minute battle in which he was against the ropes on many occasions but he found a way to save five match points and come out on top in the end.

 

Monfils took the opening set, which included 11 winners, and showed his most aggressive side and brilliant athleticism to take the opener 6-4. Nishikori upped his game in the second set and took an important break of serve in the fourth game. The roles had reversed and it was now the Japanese player who attacked and the Frenchman who defended. Nishikori kept up the rhythm in the third set and broke a downbeat Monfils in the third game.

But Monfils managed to flip the match around once again and at 5-4 he had three match points at 0-40 on Nishikori’s serve. The Frenchman didn’t take any of them, or a further fourth match point in the same game, and the match eluded him once again in Nishikori’s following service game. The Japanese had survived and trundled into the tie break, and the sense of having been granted a lifeline boosted Nishikori who made sure he wouldn’t let an opportunity like this slip away as he dispatched Monfils. Nishikori will have to recover, both mentally and physically, before facing either Nick Kyrgios or Milos Raonic in the semi finals.

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Dominic Thiem Pays Tribute To Coach Massu During Difficult Season

The 27-year-old speaks out ahead of his return to the Tour next week in Spain.

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Austria’s Dominic Thiem says the positivity from his coach Nicolas Massu has helped him through what has been a roller-coaster season so far.

 

The world No.5 heads into the grass swing of the Tour with a win-loss record of 9-8 so far this year and has failed to win back-to-back matches in four of his five most recent tournaments played. The exception being the Madrid Open where he reached the semi-finals. Earlier this year Thiem took a break in order to ‘reset’ and admitted that he was struggling for motivation after achieving one of his career goals by winning the US Open.

Amid the mixed results on the Tour, Thiem says Massu has played a ‘very important’ role in helping him. The Chilean is a former top 10 player who is best remembered for winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. Massu won a total of six ATP titles during his career.

“He has been very important to me. It has not been easy for me this season, but he always sees the bright side and has great energy, and that helps me a lot,” Thiem told reporters on Sunday. “I haven’t been feeling good on the court lately, but he’s always been there.’
“I think that soon I will return to my level, and I thank him very much for always being here supporting me.”

Thiem’s next challenge will be at the Mallorca Open where he will be the second seed after Daniil Medvedev. He will be seeking to make amends for his disappointing French Open journey where he was stunned in the first round by Pablo Andujar. However, the Austrian has experienced mixed results on the grass during his career and has only won 50% (14/28) of ATP Tour matches played on the surface.

“After Roland Garros, I started training on the hard court to practice my shots again, which were not good at all and I needed to get them back,” he explained. “Then I started practicing on grass, first in Austria and now in Mallorca.’
“But in the end, you never know what can happen on grass. At the moment, I have improved my shooting and my mobility on the court again and I am very happy with it.”

The 27-year-old is hoping he will be able to regain his form in time for his title defence at the US Open. Thiem has already pulled out of the Olympics in order to focus on preparation leading into the event. Away from the court, he has reunited with former coach Galo Blanco who has now become his agent after joining Kosmos’ new athlete management branch.

“Little by little I am improving and now I am back to normal. I think my problem this year is that I did not train enough at the beginning of the year, and I also had several problems with injuries,” said Thiem.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen at Wimbledon, but I have the goal to do very well there and in the tournaments afterwards, and to be able to put on a good game.”

In Mallorca will start his campaign against either Jan-Lennard Struff or Adrian Mannarino.

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‘A Dream Come True’ – Matteo Berrettini Reacts To Winning Queen’s Title

The 25-year-old produced an impressive service display to record what it a historic win.

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image via https://twitter.com/QueensTennis

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini says he has fulfilled a childhood dream by becoming the first Italian in history to have won the Cinch Open at The Queen’s Club in London.

 

The world No.9 required two hours to edge out home favourite Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, in what was a closely contested encounter. Impressively Berrettini didn’t face a single break point throughout the final as he won 91% of his first service points and fired 19 aces past his opponent. Claiming his first ever ATP 500 trophy at the age of 25 and his fifth ATP title overall.

“He’s a great player. We had never played against each other,” Berrettini said in tribute to his opponent after their match. “This year he has shown how he can play on all the surfaces. He has made finals and is playing great tennis. I’m sure he’s going to win a title really soon.”

With the match split at one set all, there was little to distinguish between the two players until a tense Norrie service game during the eighth game of the decider. Serving down 4-5, the Brit hit a double fault to put proceedings level at 40-40. Then a Berrettini forehand winner, followed by another unforced error from Norrie enabled the top seed to break for a chance to serve the match out. Something he did with a love service game.

The 25-year-old has become the first person to lift the Queen’s title on their debut since Boris Becker in 1985. He is only the second player from his country to have contested a final in the tournament’s history after Laurence Tieleman in 1998.

“It’s been an unbelievable week. If I think about his (Becker’s) name and my name (on the trophy) it’s crazy,” Berrettini reflected.
“I have been dreaming about playing this tournament. I watched it when I was a kid and now I have the chance to lift the trophy so it’s a dream come true.’
“I can not thank my team enough,” he added.

Norrie, who is currently at a ranking high of 41st in the world, continues the search for his maiden Tour title. It is the fourth final he has lost and the third this season. He was also runner-up in Estoril and Lyon earlier this year. On the other hand, Norrie is currently playing his best ever season in terms of matches won with a win-loss record of 29-12.

All credit to Matteo and his team. Great week for you and you’re just too good today. You were better than me on the big points,” he said during the trophy presentation.
“I’ve really enjoyed my tennis here (at Queen’s). It was a great week. It’s obviously great to have some tennis back in London and on the grass-courts.”

Berrettini’s career record on the grass now stands at 17-5.

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Former Finalist Milos Raonic Joins List Of Wimbledon Withdrawals, Halep Also In Doubt

It is the first time the Canadian is missing a Wimbledon main draw since 2010. Meanwhile, it is touch and go if the reigning women’s champion will be ready to play at the Championships which starts in just over a week’s time.

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The Wimbledon Championships has lost yet another familiar face in their draw this year with Milos Raonic withdrawing due to a calf injury.

 

Raonic, who lost in the 2016 final to Andy Murray, said in a statement on social media that he was ‘sad and hurt’ to be pulling out of the tournament. The Canadian was also forced to miss the French Open and hasn’t played a tournament since his third round loss at the Miami Open. He has played just 11 matches so far this season across four events and has won seven of them.

“I am incredible sad and hurt that I won’t be ready to compete at Wimbledon this year,” Raonic wrote on Instagram. “It is a pinnacle in my schedule each and every year.’
“I was working hard preparing many of the recent tournaments. On the second to last day I hurt my calf. I have been working hard to heal it but had a minor set back. Therefore I won’t be ready for Wimbledon. I will be working hard to get back as soon as possible.”

Raonic has a 27-9 win-loss record at Wimbledon and is the first male player from his country to have reached the final of the Grand Slam. Besides his run in 2016, he also reached the semi-finals in 2014 and the quarter-finals on two other occasions.

The 30-year-old is currently ranked 18th in the world.

Concerns over Halep

There are also doubts over Simona Halep’s Wimbledon bid after she pulled out of a key warm-up event due to ongoing injury. Coincidentally she is also suffering from a Calf injury which also sidelined her from the French Open. The Romanian had been set to return to competitive tennis at the Bad Homburg Open in Germany. However, in a statement released on Saturday the former world No.1 said she ‘wasn’t ready’ to compete yet.

“I will keep practicing because I really want to be able to play at Wimbledon. But for now I have to take care of my body and see how the recovery is going,” Halep said in a video posted on her Twitter account.

29-year-old Halep is the reigning champion at Wimbledon after beating Serena Williams in the final back in 2019. Becoming the first player from her country to have ever won the Championships. She also reached the semi-finals back in 2014.

The casualty list

Over the past week a series of top names have withdrawn from Wimbledon due to a variety of issues. In the men’s draw, Rafael Nadal confirmed that he will not be playing because he wants to take a break from the Tour to recover his body following a demanding clay season for him. He has also withdrawn from the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy.” He said.

David Goffin is also out after suffering a nasty injury in Halle. In the first round the Belgian slipped on the grass and hurt his right ankle. Goffin’s agent had previously said the injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprained ankle and he was going to undergo a further scan to assess the damage.

As for the women’s draw, Naomi Osaka will not be playing as she continues to take a break from the sport due to personal reasons. The Japanese player pulled out of the French Open amid controversy caused by her decision to not speak with the media. Osaka later revealed that she has been suffering with depression and social anxiety since 2018. Unlike Nadal, she will play at the Olympics.

“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year. She is taking some personal time with friends and family. She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans.” A statement issued by Osaka’s team reads.

The Wimbledon Championships will start in a week on Monday.

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